Lightbox is to make a new documentary for Nat Geo that will follow the preparations for NASA’s Artemis programme, in which the space agency will send a team of astronauts to the lunar surface with the first female astronaut to set foot on the moon.
In a long-term collaboration with NASA, National Geographic has access to the astronauts and their colleagues, documenting their efforts, ambitions, sacrifices and breakthrough first steps in the special event series, Return to the Moon (wt).
Co-Founders of Lightbox, Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn together with Emmy Award-nominated producer Suzanne Lavery (Cajun Navy, The Traffickers) join as executive producers. Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Jerry Rothwell (How to Change the World and The Reason I Jump) will serve as series director. Return to the Moon will premiere from National Geographic around the world.
National Geographic will offer a comprehensive look at the mission across all of its print and digital storytelling platforms with multiyear coverage of NASA’s journey. Following the model of the magazine’s iconic coverage of the early days of the Apollo program, National Geographic will report and photograph in the labs and in the field for major milestones. The brand’s digital and social media platforms will give an immersive, multimedia experience, giving them a unique behind-the-scenes look at the mission. The digital news stories, features and podcasts told along the way will culminate in a special issue of the magazine once the mission is officially off the ground.
“For more than 130 years, National Geographic has created a legacy of bringing landmark stories and achievements to world audiences,” said Courteney Monroe, President, Content, National Geographic. “With extensive access to this history-making mission, we can once again inspire the world with a story of courage, imagination, passion and self-sacrifice through the eyes and the hearts of the Artemis team.”
Shooting across four years, from now until the lunar landing launch, Return to the Moon will follow the full progress of the mission, through Artemis I’s orbit of the moon, Artemis II’s crewed flight around the Moon and ultimately Artemis III’s lunar landings and return to Earth. Audiences will not only travel with the astronauts to the stratosphere but also witness personal moments: possibly hearing from those closest to the astronauts through the duration of the missions and hearing how it feels when your loved one is 238,000 miles away.
“Return to the Moon has an astonishing human drama at its heart: a new and diverse generation of astronauts preparing to embark on the most extraordinary journey of their lives,” said Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. “By bringing our feature documentary background and sensibility to their stories, our focus will be on the intimate and often high-stakes emotional moments that no-one else will capture as the spotlight of the world falls on this pioneering endeavor, which will include the first woman stepping onto the lunar surface. We are thrilled to be working with NASA and National Geographic to bring this epic story to a global audience.”
Jerry Rothwell added, “I hope that by following the journey of the first woman to step on the moon, more than 50 years after the first Apollo landing, this series will inspire a new generation of young people to dream without limits. We’re excited for the Artemis Generation.”
Return to the Moon is produced for National Geographic by Lightbox. For Lightbox, Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery are executive producers, with Jerry Rothwell as series director. For National Geographic, Simon Raikes is executive producer.
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